Toronto woman arrested in violent dog attack, child seriously injured

Click to play video: 'Toronto woman charged over dog attack'
Toronto woman charged over dog attack
A dog owner is facing multiple charges after police say her dog attacked a child causing serious, life altering injuries. As Caryn Lieberman reports, the dog had already been deemed dangerous – Mar 25, 2024

Toronto police arrested a woman after a dog attack left a child with life-altering injuries.

Police said the incident happened on Saturday, at around 10:15 a.m., at Little Norway Park near Lake Shore Boulevard West and Bathurst Street.

A woman was inside the playground area with a dog that was off-leash when a father and his child approached the playground area, police said.

Investigators said the dog charged towards the child through an open gate and bit and dragged the child to the ground.

Both the owner and the father tried to get the dog to release the child and when the dog let go the woman fled the park with her dog, police said.

The child was taken to hospital with what police are calling serious, life-altering injuries, though they are not life-threatening.

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On Sunday, police said a search warrant was executed in the Fort York Boulevard and Bathurst Street area, not far from the park.

A 38-year-old woman was arrested.

Click to play video: 'Violent dog attack in Toronto leaves child with life-altering injuries, woman arrested'
Violent dog attack in Toronto leaves child with life-altering injuries, woman arrested

Patrycja Siarek is facing several charges including criminal negligence causing bodily harm, failing to prevent a dog from biting or attacking, dog bite to a person, allowing a dog to run at large in an area that’s not designated as off-leash, and failing to ensure a dangerous dog is muzzled at all times when off the owner’s property.

The dog was taken by Toronto Animal Services.

“The City of Toronto is aware of the horrific dog attack that occurred in Little Norway Park on March 23 and wishes the victim a full and speedy recovery,” a city spokesperson told Global News.

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City officials said it is working with Toronto Police and Toronto Public Health to investigate the incident.

Esther Attard, director of Toronto Animal Services, said in a statement issued Monday the city has “identified an increase in dog attacks last year and reviewed procedures and processes for dangerous dog incidents to implement program improvements.”

Last week, city council approved several recommendations, including posting a public list of dangerous dogs that includes the dog owner’s postal code, ward number, the dog’s name, breed and colour, and the date of the dangerous act.

Council also approved a recommendation on a standard dangerous dog warning sign that dog owners are required to post on their private property when dangerous dog orders are issued.

Attard said the city is also exploring opportunities to provide access to discounted dog obedience and socialization training for owners of dangerous dogs who can’t afford training.

“In our experience, most dog attacks could have been prevented if dogs are on leash. We strongly urge all dog owners to please keep their dogs on leashes when out in public,” Attard wrote in the statement.

“We need all dog owners to step up and help prevent these horrific incidents by always leashing and keeping their dogs under control in public.”

Attard said there are currently 450 dogs in the city under an active Dangerous Dog Order (DDO), and of that total, staff estimate about 10 per cent are related to a very severe injury or mauling.

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Last year, there were 2,726 service requests registered for potentially dangerous acts by dogs, up from 2,653 in 2022, Attard said.

Photo of the entrance of the playground at Little Norway Park. Chris Dunseith / Global News

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